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Semmelknödel – dumplings from rolls

Knoedel Knödel Semmelknödel

Actually I hadn’t planned to introduce you to “Semmelknödel” (dumplings from rolls) before late September but my daughter kept begging for them despite the hot weather. Now, since a few days we are heaving thunderstorms and the grey clouds and rain gave me just the necessary German feeling that I needed to cook this meal.

German bun dumplins or bread dumplins

One can actually buy a package of Semmelknödel in our grocery in the “International” section and if you really crave them, this can be an easy (though not faster)  solution … but they don’t even come close to the “made from scratch” version that you will learn about here.


“Semmelknödel” is actually one of the many German words that is made from two words: Semmel and Knödel. The word Semmel means “rolls” in the Bavarian dialect and Knödel simply means “dumpling“.  The “ö” is kind of pronounced like the beginning in the word “early” and other than in the English language the “k” before an “n” is pronounced, too.

Rolls with butter and jam or with cheese or a slice of our almost endless variety of cold cuts is what many Germans have for breakfast. There are small bakeries everywhere close to where people live and they all bake fresh, crisp rolls and bread from early morning until the evening. Bread and rolls are always consumed as fresh as possible and that means, that we sometimes have leftover rolls or bread that is not fresh enough to be loved. But we wouldn’t throw them in the trash, we use them for Semmelknödel.


If I don’t have (enough) leftover rolls, I use old bread, old Hamburger buns or even toast and it doesn’t matter whether it is a whole wheat product or not.

The three ingredients that make the most of the taste in dumplings are the bacon, onions and (very important!) the parsley! Don’t leave them out unless you really have to.

When we had an Octoberfest party a while ago, I had a guest who is allergic to eggs, so I made a small batch without eggs in it, wrapped the dumpling  in ceran before I put it into the boiling water, so it wouldn’t fall apart – and it worked!


Important to know:

Depending on the density of your bread/roll and on how dry it is, you will need more or less milk. If the dough is to wet, I always have an extra bun to cut and add to it. If that is not enough, I use some breadcrumbs from my pantry but it’s not a perfect solution. I’d advise to first use ¾ th of the milk, then mix the dough and then check if you need more. Adding milk is always easier than adding rolls!

Not to much to clean up!

Now have fun with this truly and very original German recipe – after two or three times it will be as easy for you as frying eggs!

Semmelknödel - dumplings from rolls

4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch (or Dinner), Sides
Cuisine Austria, German
Servings 4 people


  • 4-6 slices thick cut bacon center cut is best
  • 1 medium large onion
  • 300 g, (about 4-5 pieces) rolls, buns or bread at least one day old
  • 250 ml milk maybe more, maybe less
  • 30 g Butter optional
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 bundle parsley fresh, coarse parsley preferred
  • salt


  • Here is an overview of of the ingredients. I needed some more onion for the other components of the meal, that's why I used a large (or even huge) onion. I also skipped the butter since the milk was already whole milk.
  • First cut the bacon in cubes.
  • Slowly fry the bacon cubes in a pan. Don't discard the fat, you will need it in the dough.
  • While the bacon is frying, cut the onion and add it to the bacon when it's almost done for the last few minutes.
  • Cut the rolls (or bread) into cubes, about the size of a cherry or a little larger.
  • Wash and dry the parsley.
  • Cut the parsley as small as possible, use a machine if that's easier for you.
  • Place the bread cubes in a large bowl, add the bacon, the fat from the pan, the fried onions and the parsley to the bowl.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Heat the milk with the butter in it (optional) in the microwave.
  • Meanwhile fill a large cooking pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil.
  • Add eggs and milk/butter mix to the bowl.
  • Stir with a large spoon and then start kneading it with your hands - that's actually fun! Mix very well! Form 5-6 dumplings of the same size. Make sure to press the dough together while forming, so they won't fall apart.
  • Remove the boiling water from the stove. Carefully add the dumplings to the water - one by one. Put the pot back to the stove but reduce the heat, so it will only boil a very little bit.
  • After a few minutes decline the heat even more so it is just close to boiling. Let stand for about 20 minutes. Add a lid!
  • When the dumplings are ready, carefully remove them from the water and serve in a bowl. They taste best when fresh and hot!


There shouldn't be such thing as "leftover dumplings" but it happens. Reheating dumplings in hot water or the microwave never tastes very well but there is a solution:
Heat a pan with butter, cut the dumplings in thick slices and fry them on both sides until lightly brown! So good one is almost tempted to create leftovers on purpose!
Maybe serve with a gravy with fresh mushrooms.
german dumplings
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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18 thoughts on “Semmelknödel – dumplings from rolls”

  1. Patricia Hendricks

    I’m excited to make these with my Fleischflanzerdle aka Fikadellen today!!? I baked a nice loaf of bread a few days ago and now have the right amount of 3 day old bread to make these!! I’d love to have Rot Kohl as well but sadly the hubby won’t touch it ? My family also from Bayern makes them a little different but these sound yummy Thank You for sharing!!

  2. My great grandmother came to America from Bavaria but instead of milk in our knödel, we use grated potato (potatoes grated into mushy pulp). Have you ever heard of this?

    1. I haven’t heard of it but I like the idea since it makes vegan Semmelknödel possible. I’ll try it next time. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Hi Barbara

    The sweet mustard pear sound delish as well, I am curious about Braune Kuken. Would you share with me as well please.

    Mit Freundliche Gruß

  4. Just discovered your website. Already bookmarked and about to be added to your emailer list. I saw you have Fleisch-Flanzel in the photo. Is the recipe floating around?

    1. Hi Rob, Welcome to my German Recipes! Yes, the recipe you are looking for is here with the name Frikadellen – that‘s how we call it in the North of Germany. Take care and enjoy my recipes!

  5. 5 stars
    I found your recipe the other day and made them. I’d been trying to remember forever for the dumpling things my German father had made that were a favourite of mine as a child. These were it! I served them with roast beef and gravy; they were so good. My father always served them in a clear chicken broth that they had been boiled in.
    I was so moved when I tasted your recipe, I almost cried at the supper table! These were exactly the ones from my childhood.
    Thank you so much :)

    1. Hello Su,
      how wonderful for you to rediscover one of your favorite childhood foods! I am very happy for you. It’s funny that you mention the Knödel served in broth. I’ve never heard of that before but now you are the second person this week to mention it in a comment. I guess I’ll have to try it!
      Keep cooking and feel free to try more of my German recipes.


  6. My husband has been teasing me to make these. The maternal side of his family emigrated from Bavaria to the US years ago. His great grandmother didn’t speak English very well, so her children started call dumplings knadles, which is what the family calls them now. It was leaner times back then, so bacon, onions, and parsley were omitted and that is the recipe that was passed down to his grandmother and mother. My first trip to Munich I ordered knodels and was pleasantly surprised at all of the flavor! No offense to my mother-in-law, but her “knadles” are bland and soggy, I can barely eat a half of one anymore. My husbands grandmother always made them perfectly and they were great with her pork roast and gravy, but she passed 15 years ago. My question for you is: Do you ever boil them in an animal broth or stock to try to get more flavor into them? I am so glad I found your recipe, I know that when I make them they won’t be as good as grandma’s and my daughter will probably complain about the flavor as she did in Munich, but I think that everyone will be pleasantly surprised. I also so your recipe for leberknodel, my husband fell in love with them on our 2nd trip to Austria. It might have to be his birthday or another special occasion before I make those, as I do not care for liver. Thank you and I am excited to see how my “knadles” turn out!!!

    1. Hi Nina,
      your question was “Do you ever boil them in an animal broth or stock to try to get more flavor into them?” and the answer is that I’ve never tried that. But I think with the bacon and some of the bacon lard and also with the parsley, the Knödel taste already fantastic and in my opinion, don’t need to be boiled in broth. But who knows? Maybe I will try it next time to see if it adds even more flavor? I hope you will find some of those grandmother in law memories in my recipe.
      All the Best!

      1. I was so excited to find this site! My grandmother was German, her parents emigrated from a small town near Bremen. Regarding the dumplings: these sound just like something I had in Austria too, although it was a soup. A bowl of broth, with one giant dumpling floating in it. It was DELICIOUS. I’ve tried to make it and my dumplings wouldn’t hold together. So maybe they made them separately as per this recipe, and just put them in the broth to serve. HMMM
        But how I found the site is, I was looking to see if I could find a recipe online for sweet mustard pear pickles and your cucumber recipe showed up. I had them as a child, and I have her recipe… but wanted to double check some things, you know how old handwritten recipes are…basically it’s pears, cabbage and onions in sauce.
        I would be glad to share it with you, just let me know. I guess since it doesn’t seem to exist anywhere other than my recipe file, I’ll soldier on with what I have, haha, unless this is something you’ve heard of?

        1. Hi Lisa,

          I’d love to have the recipe for sweet mustard pear pickles! I’ve never heard of it before though, and just searched for it online – no success. It seems to be a very unique recipe. Could you just post it in the comment of the pickled cucumbers so everybody can learn it there?

          Enjoy your dumplings and yes, they are made seperately from the broth.


          1. Will do!
            Sadly my grandmother didn’t really cook German food herself; although on one occasion I was served a ‘roast beef sandwich’ and found out afterwards it was beef tongue! It was delicious but as a preteen I was a little shocked. Not sure if that’s a German thing but I always had my suspicions….
            I do have one other recipe for Braune Kuken, if you want that too.

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